Writing & Publishing for the Librarian
  • Bahr, Alice Harrison, and Mickey Zemon. "Collaborative Authorship in the Journal Literature: Perspectives for Academic Librarians Who Wish to Publish." College & Research Libraries 61, no. 5 (September 2000): 410-19. 

    A study examined the increase in coauthored articles in the core literature of academic librarianship and in other disciplines. Results revealed that university librarians contribute the most to the field's premier research journals and are its most significant collaborators. This group published some 69 percent of the articles in College & Research Libraries and The Journal of Academic Librarianship between 1986 and 1996, accounting for nearly 90 percent of the coauthored research in the journals. However, college librarians contributed only 54 articles in these journals during this period, just 33 percent of which were coauthored. It was also found that the greatest number of collaborative papers in the fields of social science involved just two people and that men are more likely to work with women and women with men. (Library Literature)

  • Crawford, Walt. First Have Something to Say: Writing for the Library Profession. Chicago: American Library Association, 2003. 

    First Have Something to Say offers personal advice that challenges some conventional wisdom about writing. . . . it provides a worthwhile set of considerations for writing and speaking within the field. (author)


  • Etches-Johnson, Amanda. "Take Up Thy Pens and Keyboards!: Why It's Never Too Early to Think about Publishing." Knowledge Quest 33, no. 1 (September/October 2004): 42-3. 

    Part of a special issue on professional renewal within school librarianship. Advice for new librarians on how to enter the publishing world is provided. This advice relates to being confident about their fresh perspectives, drawing on recent library school research and writing experience, practicing writing for journals or books, taking small steps toward more formal publishing, and using existing resources on how to write for publication. (Library Literature)


  • Gordon, Rachel Singer. "Getting Started in Library Publication." American Libraries 35, no. 1 (January 2004): 66, 68-9. 

    Writing for professional publications offers librarians a path to becoming more involved in the profession and can help to advance their library careers. Advice for librarian authors on coping with rejection and on finding ideas for their writing is provided. (Library Literature)

  • __________. The Librarian's Guide to Writing for Publication. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2004.
    One of the ways librarians maintain the integrity of their profession is through the creation of a robust body of professional literature. In The Librarian's Guide to Writing for Publication, Rachel Singer Gordon speaks to the hidden genius in each of us. Topics covered include, but are not limited to: queries and proposals; increasing your odds of publication; networking and collaboration; marketing and promotion; and the particular demands of authorship in an electronic environment. An appendix contains interviews with several library publishers and editors, covering the gamut of publication outlets. This is a one-stop guide for librarians at any stage of their publishing career. (publisher website)

  • Hahn, Trudi Bellardo, and Paul T. Jaeger. “From Practice to Publication: A Path for Academic Library Professionals.” College & Research Libraries News 74, no. 5 (May 2013): 238-242.

    The article discusses research and publication as a part of academic librarianship, and offers advice for academic librarians on how to conduct research and publish findings. Benefits of conducting research including improving resumes, learning about new research and innovations, and intellectual stimulation are examined, and suggestions on selecting research topics, gaining financial and logistical support for research, and finding publication outlets are presented. An overview of library publications is also offered. (Library Literature)

  • Hart, Richard L. "Co-authorship in the Academic Library Literature: A Survey of Attitudes and Behaviors." The Journal of Academic Librarianship 26, no. 5 (September 2000): 339-45.
    A study investigated several aspects of the collaboration process among authors of recent literature of academic librarianship. Participants were 98 coauthors of academic librarianship literature. The findings revealed that participants rated an article's improved quality as the most important advantage of collaboration. Benefits rated by participants as least important involved mentoring. Some two-thirds of participants described their working relationships as collegial. Findings strongly suggested the presence of distinct division patterns and collaboration models among coauthors of academic librarianship literature. Other findings of the study are discussed. (Library Literature)


  • __________. "Collaborative Publication by University Librarians: An Exploratory Study." The Journal of Academic Librarianship 26, no. 2 (March 2000): 94-9.

    A study examined collaborative publication by university librarians. Participants were 59 full-time, tenure-track librarians from Pennsylvania State University. Results revealed a high degree of scholarly collaboration leading to multiple-authored journal articles. A total of 81.3 percent of those surveyed had served as the coauthor of at least one publication, while 40.6 percent were currently engaged in a collaborative research project. The results revealed that 27 percent of articles by those surveyed had two or more authors. (Library Literature)

  • Labaree, Robert V. "Tips for Getting Published in Scholarly Journals: Strategies for Academic Librarians." College & Research Libraries News 65, no. 3 (March 2004): 137-9.
    There is a plethora of literature offering guidance on how to get published. In general, it encompasses either didactic works providing detailed "dos" and "don'ts"(FN1) or, the literature represents the anecdotal musings of authors and editors outlining their own tormented journey to first authorship.(FN2) Early career librarians and soon-to-be-graduating library science students planning to enter academia may find this literature overwhelming and often conflicted. For those librarians carrying faculty status, the need to publish original research as part of the tenure and promotion process can be perceived as an especially daunting responsibility. (author) 

  • Lamothe, Alain R. “The Importance of Encouraging Librarians to Publish in Peer-Reviewed Publications.” Journal of Scholarly Publishing 43, no. 2 (January 2012): 156-167.

    Advancement in any field can only be achieved when participants distribute their ideas and experiences. What happens, however, when colleagues express uninterest, hesitation, apprehension, and, in some cases, outright hostility toward publishing? By relaying his publishing experiences as an academic librarian, both positive and negative, the author hopes to alleviate the fear, doubt, and resistance some feel toward publishing their results and ideas, particularly in peer-reviewed journals. Reasons to publish, as well as valuable suggestions and advice, are presented to the reader. (author)

  • Lewis, Rodger C. "Publish or Perish? Looking at Publication for Tenure From the Other Side of the Street." College & Research Libraries News 61, no. 7 (July/August 2000): 606-8. 

    For academic librarians, the emphasis on publication gradually became a major factor for their promotion and/or tenure during the late 50s and early 60s, as colleges and universities continued to expand with government grants and G.I. tuition money. Librarians, often with two master's degrees, began to feel resentment about their ostensibly subaltern position in relation to the faculty on many U.S. campuses. Salaries were the major issue, but reimbursement for travel and attendance at meetings, sabbaticals, and free time for professional reading were among the other advantages sought. Many librarians believed that identification with the teaching faculty was the fast track to this cornucopia of blessings. Others, agreeing that a more equitable wage was justified, felt they were already in a time-honored profession, as old as the oldest university; they wished to retain their separateness from the teaching faculty and did not feel demeaned by being included as "staff" with many administrative positions. History shows this latter view was less persuasive. But on many campuses there were a couple of interesting bumps on that road to a new identity: the teaching faculty began to feel threatened by the possibility of having to share whatever wealth and privilege there might be with a larger group, and they objected vociferously; the technical services librarians realized that the public service librarians, in their attempt to take on a new identity, were emphasizing their instructional contact with students and their assistance to professors at the expense of the clever people in the back room, so a break in the ranks occurred that threatened to derail the movement. Both of these objections were resolved when the professors found themselves needing more bodies to establish a strong union, and the librarians united under the concept of research and publication. (Library Literature) 


  • Schatz, Bob. "Writing for Serialists in the Work Environment." The Serials Librarian 44, no. 3/4 (2003): 175-9.

    In the workplace we are all called upon frequently to produce written documents that have a variety of purposes. This demands that the effective writer take the time to consider all aspects of the particular project in order to produce an effective piece. "Good writing” is not necessarily effective writing. The measure is if the writing accomplishes its purpose. The keys to success are to: determine your objective for writing, build an outline, think about the audience, follow a logical path, proofread your work, validate the piece against the stated and unstated objectives, and get feedback after the fact. Above all, welcome any opportunities to write for your organization-practice makes a better writer. (publisher website)


  • Waltner, Robb. "Getting Published: Surviving in a 'Write Stuff or They Will Fire You' Environment." The Serials Librarian 42, no. 1/2 (2002): 13-18.
    Sponsored by NASIG’s Publications Committee, Getting Published brought together those who publish in or edit journals actively, those who need to publish to meet promotion or tenure requirements, as well as those who simply have a strong desire to write about the serials profession. The speakers represented one of two sides of the publishing process–editing and writing. The editors spoke about the publishing process of refereed journals–how editors manage the work of creating a journal, the peer-review process, and key indicators that editors look for in a submission or proposal. The speakers who focused on writing discussed brainstorming for ideas to develop into articles, fitting the writing life into one’s work life, and gradually building writing skills and experience. (publisher website)

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About MLA

The Music Library Association is the professional association for music libraries and librarianship in the United States. Founded in 1931, it has an international membership of librarians, musicians, scholars, educators, and members of the book and music trades. Complementing the Association’s national and international activities are eleven regional chapters that carry out its programs on the local level.